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10 Best Tool Backpacks of 2021 – Top Picks & Reviews

man with Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack

When you have many tools, you must have something to carry them all around in. Toolboxes are one of these options, but tool backpacks are becoming even more popular. These are a bit easier to carry around since they free up all your hands.

However, not all tool backpacks are made equal. Some fall apart easily or don’t have much room inside. If you want to carry all your tools around like a pro, you must choose the correct tool backpack for your needs.

In this article, we aim to help you do just that. We’ll review some of the best tool backpacks on the market and go over some of the best features to keep in mind while shopping.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack
  • 57 pockets
  • LED light
  • Comfortable
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Rugged Tools Tradesman Tool Backpack Rugged Tools Tradesman Tool Backpack
  • 1680D polyester
  • Molded hard bottom
  • Inexpensive
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC
  • 56 different pockets
  • 5-year warranty against defects
  • Durable
  • Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack
  • Hard pocket
  • Front zipper pocket
  • Taller bag
  • CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Tool Backpack CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Tool Backpack
  • 75 different pockets
  • It comes with a plastic organizing case
  • Tons of zippered pockets
  • The 10 Best Tool Backpacks – Reviews 2021

    1. DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack – Best Overall

    DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack

    There are many different tools on the market. However, our favorite one is the DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack. It has an LED light that can easily be directed towards the work area or into the backpack. This is very useful when you’re in a dim area and need to find a tool in the bag quickly. Plus, you’ll always have a pretty powerful light ready whenever you need it. You can adjust the light to either illuminate a large area or a tiny area very brightly.

    The bag is comfortable to carry, as well. It has a padded web carrying handle and adjustable shoulder straps. Large pads on the back provide extra support. It has padded feet as well, which helps significantly with wear and tear. With a total of 57 pockets, this bag can hold pretty much anything you need. Forty-eight of these pockets are multi-use, which means you can use them to hold pretty much anything. Nine of them are outside and can help you organize your accessories and other smaller parts.

    This is pretty much the only tool backpack you’ll need.

    Pros
    • 57 pockets
    • LED light
    • Comfortable
    • Nine outside pockets
    • Holds tons of tools
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. Rugged Tools Tradesman Tool Backpack – Best Value

    Rugged Tools Tradesman Tool Backpack

    Not everyone needs a huge backpack. If you only have a few tools or are on a strict budget, then the Rugged Tools Tradesman Tool Backpack is a reliable option for you to consider. It is smaller than many of the other options on this list. It only has 28 pockets, which is significantly lower than most. It also doesn’t come with many extra features. However, it is very durable and appropriate for various uses. If you’re looking for a simple bag, this is the best option for you.

    It is built to last despite its lower price. It is made out of 1680D polyester and is made to be used in harsh working environments. Practically anyone can use this bag and feel impressed, including DIYers and professionals. It has a molded hard bottom, which helps protect the tools inside. We also found that it makes the bag stand up a bit better, which is always a useful bonus. Plus, it is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

    We particularly liked that the sternum strap helps distribute the weight a bit better. This is very helpful when you’re wearing it for an extended period, though we don’t expect that many people will get the full use of this tool.

    Pros
    • 1680D polyester
    • Molded hard bottom
    • Inexpensive
    • 100% satisfaction guarantee
    Cons
    • Only 28 pockets

    3. Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC – Premium Choice

    Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC

    Some people live and breathe tools. In these cases, a premium tool backpack may be precisely what you need. The Veto Pro Pac TECH PAC is one such backpack. It has 2 storage bays and 4 storage compartments. It has padded EVA thermal padding, which protects your tools to the greatest extent possible. It has a quick-release metal clasp, so you don’t have to fiddle around with a zipper when you’re just trying to get your hammer out. It even has a 3 mm thick polypropylene base so that it won’t tip over. This is a significant feature since tipping can ruin your organization and damage tools.

    In all, this backpack has 56 different pockets. These are spread through 4 larger compartments, which helps you stay organized. Many of these pockets are multi-purpose so that you can put practically anything in them.

    It has a 5-year warranty against defects. This doesn’t cover everything, but it is better than many other warranties these tools come with. We did like the overmolded ergonomic grip and the adjustable padded shoulders, making the bag more comfortable to use.

    Pros
    • 3 mm thick polypropylene
    • 56 different pockets
    • 5-year warranty against defects.
    • Durable
    • Made for professionals
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack

    Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack

    The Klein Tools 55421BP-14 Tool Bag Backpack is a mid-range bag in quality and price. It seems to have an average number of pockets and other features. It didn’t make it to the top of our list, but there is a lot we liked about it.

    It has 39 different pockets in all. This should be plenty for most users. It has a hard, molded front pocket which can protect more sensitive items, like safety glasses. The front zipper pocket is perfect for tiny parts and tools.

    It is a taller bag, so it can better handle taller tools. It can even be used to store taller screwdrivers, which can sometimes be challenging to transfer. The bottom is fully molded and quite thick. This feature protects the tools and helps the bag stand up.

    The zippers are the weak spot on this bag. They tend to break, though they can take a lot of abuse. They tend to be used a lot on these bags, though.

    Pros
    • Hard pocket
    • Front zipper pocket
    • Taller bag
    • Bottom is molded
    Cons
    • Zippers are weak
    • So-so number of pockets

    5. CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Tool Backpack

    CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Tool Backpack

    The CLC Custom LeatherCraft 1132 Tool Backpack is a bit more expensive than most bags on the market. It still isn’t the most expensive bag, and you do get many features for the cost. It has 75 different pockets for storage, which is far more than most other backpacks on the list. It has 6 different zippered pockets in all, with the pockets spread throughout each more gigantic, zippered pocket.

    It even comes with a plastic tray to organize the small parts and pieces that could easily get lost if thrown into the bag. There are plenty of internal panels throughout the bag that can hold many different tools, including taller screwdrivers and more extensive tools. The bag is also made out of durable ballistic polyester fabric. This makes it extremely durable and able to deal with the wear-and-tear of the job site.

    However, the zippers on this bag are not as high quality as they should be. They begin to wear down decently quickly. There are many zippers on this bag, so there are quite a few opportunities for them to fail. It also isn’t as durable in general, so don’t expect it to last as long as you might think.

    Pros
    • 75 different pockets
    • It comes with a plastic organizing case
    • Tons of zippered pockets
    Cons
    • Low-quality zippers
    • Not very durable

    6. AmazonBasics ZH1710003R1 Tool Bag Backpack

    AmazonBasics ZH1710003R1 Tool Bag Backpack

    Amazon has recently started its line of products that includes many basics, including tool bags. The AmazonBasics ZH1710003R1 Tool Bag Backpack is much cheaper than most options. It is the “generic” version of a tool bag. However, it does have quite a few features we liked. For example, it has 75 different pockets. This high number allows you to keep anything organized in this bag. It has 6 different zippered pockets as well.

    Each compartment is made with a specific tool in mind. This is both a good and a bad thing. If, on the one hand, you happen to have all the tools they designed this bag for, it’s excellent! However, if you have different tools or only use specific tools, this could be a problem.

    The bag is quite comfortable. It has adjustable padded shoulder straps and padded handles. The orange interior makes finding items a bit easier than some darker interiors. It does come with a 1-year warranty as well.

    This bag’s zippers don’t hold, though this seems to be a common complaint across multiple bags. There also aren’t many ways to keep the bag organized. The tools don’t stay in their pockets easily, and there are only a few clasps to keep all the tools in place.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Many different pockets
    • Comfortable
    Cons
    • Difficult to keep all tools organized
    • Zippers are low-quality

    7. STEELHEAD SH-05-BP-B1-0-1 Tool Backpack

    STEELHEAD SH-05-BP-B1-0-1 Tool Backpack

    The STEELHEAD SH-05-BP-B1-0-1 Tool Backpack is optimized for rugged professions and environments. It is suitable for an electrician, plumbers, and similar jobs. It has 48 pockets in total. While this isn’t as much as some other bags, it should still be enough for most applications. The pockets are of many different sizes, so you can use them to hold small things and huge things.

    It has rugged feet and a reinforced bottom to protect your tools and prevent the bag from wearing down on the bottom. It won’t get damaged in wet conditions or hot environments.

    It does have a utility clip and heavy-duty carrying handles. If you need to move it around the job site without actually putting it on your back, it allows you to do that very quickly. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty.

    This bag mainly contains long, skinny pockets. They aren’t precisely wide, which can make storing things like drywall knives difficult. The pockets aren’t very deep either, so it isn’t useful for very long tools. This bag also doesn’t hold up very well, but the lifetime warranty is straightforward to take advantage of. Like many bags, the zippers aren’t the best either.

    Pros
    • Rugged feet
    • Utility clip
    • 48 pockets in total
    Cons
    • Long, skinny pockets
    • Zippers aren’t the best

    8. Milwaukee PACKOUT Backpack

    Milwaukee PACKOUT Backpack

    With 48 total pockets, the Milwaukee PACKOUT Backpack should be plenty big enough for most people. It has a hardshell pocket on the front to help protect sensitive equipment and tools, like electronics. Plus, all the hardware is metal, and it features a tape measuring clip. The sidewalls are reinforced to help them last longer under scrutiny.

    We do like the design of this bag. It is made so that it can hold various tools reasonably quickly. It should have plenty of room for most tools and allows you to array a variety of different things. Pockets aren’t necessarily designed for different tools, making this bag more versatile than other options.

    This bag is a bit more expensive than we would have liked. It doesn’t have as many pockets as other options, but it is considerably more expensive than many of them. You don’t get many extra features for the extra cost either.

    This bag also isn’t balanced in the least. It doesn’t stand up.

    Pros
    • Hardshell pocket
    • 48 pockets
    • Tape measuring clip
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Not balanced

    9. SWISSGEAR Work Tool Backpack

    SWISSGEAR Work Tool Backpack

    The SWISSGEAR Work Tool Backpack has a whole lot of pockets. It comes with more than 60 slots and pockets. This allows you to stay very organized no matter what you’re doing. It also has a removable tool caddy in the main pocket, so you can pull all your main tools out if you need to. It is one of the few bags with built-in laptop protection. It has a padded compartment that will keep your laptop safe. It even comes with a built-in USB port to keep everything charged. The shoulder straps are comfortable, and the airflow technology will keep you from getting sweaty.

    However, there is little padding on the back portion or the shoulders. This isn’t terrible, but it can get annoying if you have to wear the bag for an extended period. Their customer service also isn’t nearly as reliable as they should be.

    This bag is decently balanced. But when you add weight to it, it will not stand up correctly. It cannot deal with unbalanced amounts of weight. So, if you weigh down one side of the bag too much, it will fall over.

    Pros
    • Removable tool caddy
    • Built-in laptop pocket
    Cons
    • Lacks padding
    • Doesn’t stand up
    • Poor customer service

    10. Dead on Tools The Destroyer Tech Pack

    Dead on Tools The Destroyer Tech Pack

    Besides having a really edgy name, there isn’t much else the Dead on Tools The Destroyer Tech Pack has going for it. It has 19 pockets in all, which is the lowest out of all the bags we reviewed. It does have a decently durable handle, but it is also quite uncomfortable. It does have relatively fewer zippered pockets, which can help you stay organized.

    The shoulder straps are of poor quality. There is only a tiny bit of padding that usually doesn’t even hit your shoulder in the right place. It seems like it is made for very short people and is not exceptionally adjustable to make up for that. We found it a bit uncomfortable overall. There is also no mid-stabilizer strap or waist strap. When you’re trekking around the job site, these straps can do a lot.

    This bag also doesn’t use hard bottom material. Instead, it’s a relatively soft material that can be crushed easily. You can’t put too much heavy stuff in it for this reason.

    Pros
    • Many zippered pockets
    Cons
    • Flimsy bottom
    • Uncomfortable
    • Few pockets

    Buyer’s Guide

    Choosing a tool backpack should be simple, but it is quite complicated. While shopping, there are quite a few features you need to keep in mind. You should consider everything from cost to the number of pockets to stability. It is a lot to stay on top of.

    In this section, we’ll break down all of these essential features, so you know exactly what to look for.

    Pockets

    All tool backpacks should have pockets. Otherwise, your tools are just going to be a big clanging mess at the bottom. You won’t be able to find anything, and your tools will get damaged.

    Luckily, most of these bags do have pockets of some sort. The number of pockets they have varies a whole lot, though. Some have 10. Others have 70. Usually, more pockets are better as it helps you stay organized. However, you have to remember that you can only fit so many pockets into a backpack. Sure, you could probably fit 300 pockets into a backpack, but they will be tiny pockets and probably will not be holding tools.

    man with Rugged Tools Tradesman Tool Backpack

    The Bottom

    The bottom of the bag is probably one of the essential parts. It is the part that has to withstand all the weight of your tools when set down. A poorly made bag will be crushed under all the tools’ weight, which can ruin its ability to stand up and even cause damage to the contents.

    Most bags are made of some hard material that can withstand a lot of weight. However, many companies attempt to side-step this feature and use some sort of cheap plastic.

    Zippers

    While reviewing ten different bags currently on the market, we discovered that it is usually the zipper when bags fail. Zippers get used a lot and are put under a lot of strain, especially if you’re getting tools out of the bag all day. If the zipper fails, you’re out of luck. You won’t be able to close the bag, which hardly makes it a bag anymore.

    Whenever you’re purchasing a bag before you check reviews for information about the zipper.

    Cost

    These bags can be costly. Some cost hundreds of dollars, though you can find a few cheaper options. We have discovered that cost doesn’t always match up with quality. The more expensive bag is probably better than the cheapest bag, but the lines tend to get a bit fuzzy beyond that. There were a couple of $100 bags that were much better than the $130 bags.

    For this reason, you can likely get a good bag for cheaper than you think. Don’t just go off the price when you’re figuring out if a bag is good or not. Instead, check on all the other features we mentioned here.

    Comfort

    You also need to consider how comfortable a bag is. After all, you will be wearing it. Let’s try to make it something you look forward to – not dread. Under normal circumstances, you will not be able to walk around and test a bag before you purchase it. Instead, you’ll need to check things like the padding level.

    In general, more padding is better. The quality of the padding does matter, though. If the padding isn’t very high-quality, it’s just going to smoosh no matter how much of it there is. You also need to check how adjustable the bag is. If a bag can’t be adjusted to fit you correctly, it will be uncomfortable. You must choose a fitting bag for this reason.

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    Conclusion

    We hope this article pointed you towards the perfect tool backpack for your needs. There are many options out there, but our reviews should help you narrow down your list substantially.

    If we had to recommend just one bag, it would be the DEWALT DGL523 Lighted Tool Backpack. This bag has just the right number of pockets, is durable, and comes with a few cool features. For example, it has an LED light that can be used to light your workspace and fish tools out of your bag.

    For those who don’t want to spend very much money, we also liked the Rugged Tools Tradesman Tool Backpack. It is much less expensive than most other options but should still provide you with everything you need to carry your tools around.

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